City makes impressive strides in garbage sorting

Hu Min
Over 90 percent of communities in Shanghai are meeting trash-sorting standards, while authorities look ahead to continued improvements.
Hu Min

The garbage-sorting performance of more than 90 percent of Shanghai's residential communities have hit compliance standards in the first half of this year, up from 15 percent before the city's regulations on garbage sorting came into effect on July 1 last year, local greenery authorities revealed on Thursday during a press conference.

Ninety percent of work units in the city have also been adhering to the new standards, according to the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.

"The majority of city residents are participating in trash sorting voluntarily," Deng Jianping, director of the bureau, told a press conference summing up the city's waste-sorting performance.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of residents still stuck to trash sorting although volunteer monitors were absent, said Tang Jiafu, deputy director of the bureau.

The garbage-sorting performance of all residential complexes in the city were scored above 92 in the first half of this year, signifying "garbage sorting has become part of residents' daily life," he told the press conference.

In June, about 968,600 tons of household garbage were collected in the city, the bureau said. A total of 9,632 tons of wet garbage were separated daily on average in the city last month, rising 38.5 percent from the same period last year.

In total, 6,814 tons of recyclable waste were sorted daily in June, soaring 71 percent from June in 2019, the bureau said.

As a result, 15,518 tons of dry trash were collected daily last month, a drop of nearly 20 percent from a year earlier, according to the bureau.

In addition, 33,000 tons of hazardous waste were separated daily, growing 11.2 times from the same period a year earlier.

"The city's garbage-sorting effects have been lifted significantly," said Deng. "A whole-process garbage-sorting system has been basically established in Shanghai."

Some 21,000 disposal sites have been upgraded, and the city has a fleet of nearly 5,000 vehicles to collect and transport wet, dry, recyclable and hazardous waste, according to the bureau.

The city's wet trash recycling and dry waste incineration capacity has reached 24,350 tons daily, and it has built about 15,000 recyclable trash collection service spots.

More than 140 tourist attractions and hotels have been ordered to fix irregularities over the past year, with one punished, and 39 catering businesses have been issued fines by market watchdogs over violations, authorities revealed during the press conference.

"The next target is to lift the accuracy of sorting, convenience of disposal and garbage resource utilization levels," said Deng.

The target is that the garbage-sorting performance at 95 percent of 13,000 residential communities and villages, and work units across Shanghai will be brought up to standard this year, the bureau said.

An extra 2,000 tons of dry trash incineration capacity, an extra 1,450 tons of wet trash recycling capacity and zero landfill of household trash are also on the agenda for this year, according to the bureau.

"The city will step up the research, development and application of intelligent equipments in terms of trash sorting to consolidate the long-term mechanism of garbage sorting via science and technology and management," said Tang.

The city's dry trash incineration capacity can fully satisfy the current demand, while there is still a gap in wet garbage between sorted amount and treatment capacity, Tang revealed.

"We are stepping up construction of facilities to ensure resource utilization of wet trash," he said.

The city has also started "designated time" collection of trash at streetside businesses and by the end of June, 183,000 streetside businesses, or 94 percent of the total, had been included, according to the bureau.

By the end of September, all will be included in the mechanism, the bureau said.

Residential communities across Shanghai have been required to install tools to break open garbage bags as well as washing systems at their trash disposal spots this year, and new criteria covering facilities and odor control will also be included in Shanghai's assessment system of trash sorting at residential communities.

More than 94 percent of 5,001 residential complexes inspected have been installed with washing facilities, while 82.3 percent and 78 percent have odor-control facilities and tools to break open garbage bags respectively, according to the bureau.

"The aim is to improve environment and the disposal experience of residents," said Tang. "We also encourage convenient and practical disposal inventions."

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